"Our numbers have been headed in the right direction. While there has been a slight uptick in our positive, in our percent positivity rate, our cases per million have plateaued and more hospital beds are becoming available. The pause that DHHS issued is working."
"If numbers continue to head in the right direction, our hope is that we will be able to resume indoor dining with strong safety measures in place on February 1st. We're working on a path to allow indoor dining at restaurants with safety measures such as mask requirements, capacity limits and a curfew starting on February 1."
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration said Wednesday that Michigan restaurants should be able to reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1 if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable.
Whitmer announced the two-month ban would be extended by an additional two weeks, though organized non-contact sports could resume this weekend.
The plan is to allow dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew. Group exercise classes can start Saturday.
"Our numbers have been headed in the right direction," the Democratic governor said during a news conference. "The pause ... is working."
Michigan is among just a few states to ban indoor restaurant dining and is the only one without a detailed plan on how and when reopening can occur, according to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.
The state is expected to release details on the reopening next week.
Since the Whitmer administration closed restaurants and bars, effective Nov. 18, it has let high schools resume in-person instruction and has allowed entertainment businesses to reopen with restrictions.
State officials are watching three key COVID-19 metrics: Over nearly two months, the statewide seven-day case average is down to 3,349, from 6,687. The positivity rate is 8.2%, a drop from 9.8%, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Nearly 13% of hospital beds had virus patients as of last week, a decrease from about 20% a month before.
House Speaker Jason Wentworth, a Farwell Republican, expressed frustration that the indoor dining ban will stay intact for two more weeks, saying Feb. 1 is "an arbitrary date."
Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to no more than 10 people and two households. Masks also are required in many settings.